2018 To Walk the Earth in Safety: U.S. PM/WRA Quick Reaction Force (QRF) -- Preventing or Remediating Catastrophic Munitions Explosions Worldwide

Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Date: 2018 Description: A QRF EOD expert carefully examines an unexploded World War II-era bomb that was blocking construction of a new wind farm on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. © Photo courtesy of Golden West.The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) is a team of civilian EOD-qualified experts who serve as PM/WRA’s first responders to CWD-related emergencies including munitions depot explosions, ammunition depots at risk of imminent explosion, and UXO that pose an imminent threat to civilians. These situations require rapid action to secure loose and unstable munitions, save lives, protect property, and conduct needs assessments for further CWD activities. Headquartered in Northern Virginia, the QRF can deploy globally within 48 hours.

Golden West, a U.S.-based charity and implementing partner for the QRF, specializes in humanitarian demining, battle area clearance, and PSSM.

The QRF enabled the United States to assist four countries in 2017.

  • Ukraine: In October the QRF provided technical assistance following a large explosion at a military depot in Kalynivka that led to the evacuation of 30,000 civilians. The team provided expert advice on post-blast clearance efforts, assessed ammunition storage practices at several depots, and recommended steps to protect against future explosions.
  • Serbia: The QRF deployed in March to provide technical assistance following an accidental explosion at an ammunition demilitarization facility in Kragujevac. This deployment reinforced Serbia’s response to the accident and confirmed Serbian authorities were handling the accident response in a safe and well-coordinated manner.
  • Guatemala: In January the QRF conducted PSSM assessments of Guatemalan government munitions depots to identify conditions and practices that could lead to unplanned explosions or illicit proliferation. The assessment reinforced the importance of strong PSSM practices, highlighted areas for improvement, and identified opportunities for U.S.-Guatemala cooperation on PSSM.
  • Federated States of Micronesia: From June to November the QRF deployed to Pohnpei and Yap to destroy World War II-era UXO and abandoned munitions that endangered local communities, schools, and power plants. The QRF safely destroyed these hazards and removed the threat they posed to the Micronesian people.

QRF

Since 2001 the QRF and its precursor the Quick Reaction Demining Force have deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Federated States of Micronesia, Guatemala, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

http://www.state.gov/t/pm/wra